Roaming through the range of meat at the butcher, I am often looking for products that I have not used before. Lamb shank is such a beautiful piece of meat.
Lamb shank is ideal for making a stew. Since lamb already has a lot of flavor, I wanted to make a stew without excess flavor additives. So this time, no stew with wine or beer. Despite that, this stew turned out to be a taste bomb in which all senses are put to work.
In addition to a stew without a laundry list of ingredients, I thought it would be fun to prepare it in a skillet. Usually, the Dutch oven is used for this, but I can imagine that not everyone has one. If you own a skillet, I would definitely read on.
My 25 cm skillet was almost full to the brim, but it had three shanks in it, weighing 1.3 kilos in total. This turned out to be enough for at least 6 people. If you are going to prepare it for two people with 1 lamb shank, it is entirely doable with a skillet of a size smaller.
There is a thin membrane around the shank. This ensures that the meat stays together nicely. I had removed it from one of the three, but that is actually not necessary. The bone in the shank provides flavor and heat conduction, so we only remove it when serving.
We will not bind this stew, so you will soon be serving deliciously tender lamb with cooked vegetables. You will be left with the bone and liquid. The long cooking time is a good excuse to relax in the garden or on the couch with your legs up.
- 3 lamb shanks
- Few sprigs of Rosemary
- Olive oil
- Basic dry rub
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 Leek
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 Shallots
- Canned peeled tomatoes
- Pepper and salt
- Place the meat in the herb rub at least an hour in advance. For better adhesion, you can use olive oil first.
- Heat up your barbecue to 100-120°C (212 to 248F) with two zones. When the grill is stable, we add some smoking wood to the glowing coals. Apple and cherry go well with lamb, but I tried beech.
- For an hour, we will smoke the lamb. Since the skillet needs to heat up, we place it next to the meat on the grid. In the meantime, we have time to cut the vegetables. Cut the leek lengthwise, rinse it under the tap and cut it into pieces. The celery stems can also be cut into 1-centimeter pieces. Clean the shallots and cut them roughly or add them whole later. Crush four garlic cloves, and the same applies here as for the shallots.
- After an hour, we put a thin layer of olive oil in the skillet. We have already zipped the rosemary leaves from the twigs and are going to fry them in the oil. When the rosemary leaves are nicely crispy, we remove them from the hot oil with tongs. The oil has now gained more flavor, and you can use the leaves later as a crispy garnish.
- We are now going to put the lamb shank in the skillet. Turn them regularly with the pliers, so that they are nicely brown all around.
The leek and celery are spread in the skillet. Followed by the shallot and garlic. Stir the vegetables between the shanks and then add the peeled tomatoes. Carefully crush the tomatoes with the tongs and divide them into the skillet. Fill 3/4 of the empty can with warm water and pour this into the skillet. Turn the meat over again.
- We are going to carefully wrap everything with aluminum foil so that it can stew. Place two long pieces of foil crosswise over the dish and fold them against the skillet. Then a long piece of foil goes around the skillet to optimally seal it. Gently press the foil all around, using gloves if necessary.
- Keep the barbecue at about 90°C (230F) for the next 3 hours. The stove should not boil. You can open that beer now that we didn’t use in the stew and prepare some side dishes in the last hour. Tip: A lovely risotto and grilled asparagus and lime go well with this stew.
- After 2½ to 3 hours, the peeking starts. Carefully remove the foil and try to remove some meat from the shank with a fork. When in doubt, turn the shanks and pack the skillet for another half hour.
- When the meat comes loose from the bone, we remove the skillet from the barbecue with gloves. Remove all meat from the bone with a fork. Make the meat a bit smaller (such as with pulled pork) so that it can be scooped up together with the vegetables. Use tongs for this so that the moisture remains. Set the table and enjoy!